The 'Shower Reuben' Does, Indeed, Hit Different

Is that a pickle or a sponge? Twitter is mixing hygiene with cuisine.

Last week, Twitter user austin (@ssssssssscuseme) tweeted a picture of a very appealing-looking reuben sandwich, with rosy pink corned beef, well-toasted bread, and what appears to be a restrained handful of sauerkraut peeking through. However, the sandwich was served, somewhat unconventionally, on the corner shelf of a tiled shower, right where a bar of soap would normally be.

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"Shower reuben hits different fr," read the caption.

It seemed like your typical culinary shitpost, a la the "King's Hand" Tweet from 2020. And yet, there are more layers to the Shower Reuben post. If you recall the "shower orange" trend that emerged roughly seven years ago via the Reddit thread r/ShowerOrange, then you'll know that "shower reuben" is more or less a send-up of that.

For anyone who doesn't spend quite so much time online, a quick primer: Those who proselytize the Shower Orange lifestyle claim that eating a cold orange in a steamy, hot shower is an intensely pleasurable experience. It's similar to, and likely predated by, the shower beer—essentially the same thing, but with a cold beer. On top of all of the other benefits, eating in the shower also presumably makes for easier cleanup.

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The shower reuben tweet apparently struck a chord with a lot of people on Twitter, because it had racked up close to 100,000 likes and over 8,000 retweets in the span of just three days (austin has just under 1,300 followers). The sandwich even made its way onto Instagram, where food writer Helen Rosner posted it on her Stories, and Jewish media publication Hey Alma added it to their grid. (The original poster did not respond to our requests for comment.)

But what, exactly, made it go so viral, other than its subtle satire, plus how funny and chaotic it is to imagine eating a fully loaded corned beef sandwich in the shower?

"American internet users in particular really love sharing photos and videos of doing weird stuff with food," said journalist Ryan Broderick, who reports on internet and media culture for sites like The Verge and Polygon. "[The tweet] parodies the type of internet content that we see a lot, that is like, a weird man sharing something weird that they do [and acting like it's normal]," he said.

Another part of why the shower reuben tweet went viral, Broderick said, is the fact that it was retweeted by leftist accounts like @JUNIPER, which has over 76,000 followers. Weird Twitter accounts and "leftist shitposting accounts," as Broderick described them, tend to favor this kind of content.

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Adding to the overall funniness of the tweet is the fact that so many users commented on it in earnest. One user even replied with a photo of a slice of cheese in a shower, with the text "Pepperjack cheese shower time." Another user offered their solidarity with the original poster: "Never shower Reubened but I've had many a sandwich in the shower when in a hurry."

The most overanalyzed aspect of the tweet was the fact that what appears to be half a pickle sitting on the shelf below is actually, upon closer examination, a yellow kitchen sponge—something that hundreds of users commented on, and which Broderick himself actually realized in the middle of our conversation.

"It's a sponge!" he said. "If you zoom in, it's definitely a sponge." (This was confirmed by the original poster in a follow-up tweet.)

Twitter is the sort of unique space where something as random as shower reuben—or the King's Hand, which got nearly double the number of likes—can still take off, Broderick said.

"Twitter is a platform that still consistently has random stuff go viral, which is actually pretty impressive," given that it's been around for 15 years at this point, he added.

Above all, however, the shower reuben is just a moment of unfettered internet joy. Few users expressed outright disgust, perhaps due to the fact that, truth be told, it looked like a pretty decent reuben.

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"It's a perfect tweet," said Broderick.

 

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